NetEqualizer News: November 2014


November 2014

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss features for our 2015 NetEqualizer Releases, announce a last call for trading in old NE2000’s and Lite units, introduce our NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign, and share a technical tip on how to export data from NetEqualizer’s Dynamic Real-Time Reporting (RTR). As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

The holiday season is almost underway in the United States. Before I get caught up in thefancy thank-you

whirlwind of activities that seems to happen at this time of year, I’d like to pause and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. As we end our 11th year, I continue to be thankful for all of our loyal customers.

THANK YOU for putting your faith and trust in APconnections, we truly appreciate your business!

APconnections also likes to give back to those in need. You can read all about our NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign below.

2015 NetEqualizer Release Plans

We have started planning out our 2015 releases. We are aiming for two releases in 2015:

8.2 – Extended RTRpenalties

Our first release (8.2) will be in the late spring/early summer timeframe. We continue our commitment to robust real-time reporting (RTR) by adding reports to extend our capabilities. 8.2 – Extended RTR is currently planned to include Penalty Graphs, Bandwidth Use by IP Graphs, a Pools Dashboard, Data Export Menus, and an enhanced Active Connections Table.

8.x – Cloud Reporting

As announced in our October Newsletter, we plan to offer data storage in a cloud environment. Cloud Reporting will give you access to longer periods of data, to help with your troubleshooting, capacity planning, and trend analysis needs. Look for more information in the coming months as we start to architect our solution.

We listen to you, and have taken into account feedback provided by those of you that have upgraded to 8.1 in our release planning. As always, if you have feature requests or suggestions, please contact us!

Once 8.2 reaches GA, these features will be free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support who are running version 8.1. If you are not current with NSS, or have not upgraded to 8.1, contact us today!

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


Last Call! Trade in Your Older NE2000 or Lite Unit

As we have announced previously in this Newsletter, we are discontinuing support for older NE2000s (any NE2000 purchased prior to August 2011) and the Lite series as of 12/31/2014.

We are moving our NE2000 and Lite license levels onto the NE3000 platform, which can support running our 64-bit software, and is better positioned for the future (more memory, more processing power, etc.).

If you have not already traded in your older NE2000 or Lite unit, we recommend that you do so at this time. As part of our Lifetime Buyer’s Guarantee, we offer a generous trade-in credit of 50% of the original unit price toward a new unit. While you will still be able to trade-in older NE2000’s and Lite units in the future, this is our Last Call because time is running out on Support (NSS) for these units.

Not sure if your NE2000 is an older unit? Call or email us and we will look it up for you.

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign

Join APconnections in giving back to worthy causes during this holiday season. For every new NetEqualizer that our customers purchase between now and 12/31/2014, APconnections will donate $25 to one of our selected charities.

It is that simple! Just buy the NetEqualizer that you were planning to get anyway in 2015, and you get to help us to do good for others, through the great work of these deserving charities!

To keep this simple, we have selected several charities, and will split the donation amongst them. Our charities for the NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign are:

1) Toys for Tots: The mission for Toys for Tots is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

tft

2) The Hunger Project: The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger.

29DRt83

3) Doctors Without Borders: Doctors Without Borders works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.

logo


Technical Tip: How to Export Your Data

Did you know there is a hidden feature in Release 8.1? Even though the menu option is not visible, it is possible to export the data in your reporting databases to csv files. You can export data for the previous 24 hours or data for the previous 4 weeks. What you do with it is up to you! Import it into Excel for easy graphing, save it locally for longer-term reporting, export data for a specific time period to analyze bandwidth-related issues, and more!export

Please note that the data is returned with Unix timestamps and is in bytes/second. Data for the 24 hour database is sampled every minute and data for the 4 week database is sampled every hour. To export your data, simply change the parameter “page” in the url to “export-data”. So, your URL would be something like:

[neteqIP]/newgui/RTR/index.php?page=export-data

If you need assistance with data export and are current on NSS, contact us at:

support@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300

Please note that General Penalty Data is not available or exportable at this time.


Best Of The Blog

More Lies and Deceit From Your ISP

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Back in 2007, I wrote an article for PC Magazine about all the shenanigans that ISPs use to throttle bandwidth. The article set a record for online comments for one day, and the editor was happy. I recall, at that time, I felt like a lone wolf trying to point out these practices. Finally some redemption, this morning, the FTC is flexing it’s muscle and is now taking on AT&T for false claims with respect to unlimited data…

Photo Of The Month
santa
Interactive Robotic Santa
One of our staff members’ recently stumbled upon an Internet-controllable robotic Santa in his neighborhood. The Santa is viewable via web cam and can speak text entered into the website. It can also play music and dance. Santa was relatively quiet until recently when the URL went viral and Santa was speaking non-stop! Email us for a link to check out the Santacam – but beware that Santa has a gift for gab and no content filter.

Do hotels ever block your personal wifi ?


Apparently at least one hotel does. We had written an article hinting that this might be the case  back in 2010.  Hotel operators at the time were hurting from the loss of phone call charges as customers turned to their cell phones, and were looking for creative ways to charge for Internet service.

Hence I was not surprised to see this article today.

FCC: Marriott blocked guests’ personal Wi-Fi, charged for Net access

Federal Communications Commission fines Marriott $600,000 after deciding it illegally interfered with conventiongoers’ hot spots in Nashville. Marriott says it did nothing wrong.

In its judgment, the FCC said “Marriott employees had used containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system at the Gaylord Opryland to prevent individuals from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks, while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network.”

read more

How to keep your IP address static with DHCP


One of the features we support with the NetEqualizer product is a Quota tool, which keeps a running count of total bytes used per IP on a network. A typical IT administrator wants to keep track of data on a per user basis over time, hence some form of Quota tool is essential.  However, a potential drawback of our methodology is that we track usage by IP.   Most networks use a technology called DHCP that dynamically hands out a new IP address each time you power up and power down your computer or wireless device. Most network administrators can track a specific user to an IP in the moment, but they have no idea who had the IP address last week or last month.  Note: there are authentication tools such as Radius or Nomadix that can be used to track users by name but, this adds a complex layer of additional overhead to a simple network.

Yesterday, when working with a customer, the subject came up about our Quota tool, and its drawback of not being able to track a user by IP over time, and the customer turned that into a teaching moment for me.

You see, a DHCP server will always try and give the same IP address back to the same device if the previous IP address is available.   So the key is keeping that IP address available; and there is a simple trick to make sure that this happens.

When you set up a DHCP server it will ask you the range of IP addresses you want to use. All one needs to do is ensure that the defined range is much bigger than the number of devices that will be on your network, and then you can be almost certain that a device will always get the same IP.  This is because the DHCP server only re-uses previously assigned IP addresses when all IP addresses have been assigned, and this would only happen if you defined your IP address range to a relative small number relative to the number of potential devices on your network.   There is no real extra cost for defining your DHCP address range as a Class B instead of the typical default Class C, which then expands your range from 255 to 64,000.  So make sure your ranges are large enough and feel free to track your users by IP without worry.

If you would like to learn more about our Quota tool, also known as “User Quota”, you can read more about it in our User Guide.

More lies and deceit from your ISP


Note: We believe bandwidth shaping is a necessary and very valuable tool for both ISPs and the public. We also support open honest discussion about the need for this technology and encourage our customers to open and honest with their customers.    We do not like deception in the industry at any level and will continue to expose and write about it when we see it. 

Back in 2007, I wrote an article for PC magazine about all the shenanigans that ISPs use to throttle bandwidth.  The article set a record for on-line comments for the day, and the editor was happy.  At that time, I recall feeling like a lone wolf trying to point out these practices.  Finally some redemption came this morning. The FTC is flexing its muscles; they are now taking on AT&T for false claims with respect to unlimited data.

Federal officials on Tuesday sued AT&T, the nation’s second-largest cellular carrier, for allegedly deceiving millions of customers by selling them supposedly “unlimited” data plans that the company later “throttled” by slowing Internet speeds when customers surfed the Web too much.

It seems that you can have an unlimited data plan with AT&T, but if you try to use it all the time, they slow down your speed to the point where the amount of data you get approaches zero. You get unlimited data, as long as you don’t use it – huh?  Does that make sense?

Recently, I have been doing some experiments with Comcast and my live dropcam home video feed.  It seems that if I try to watch this video feed on my business class Comcast, (it comes down from the dropcam cloud), the video will time out within about minute or so. However, other people watching my feed do not have this problem. So, I am starting to suspect that Comcast is using some form of application shaper to cut off my feed (or slow it down to the point where it does not work).  My evidence is only anecdotal.  I am supposed to have unlimited 4 megabits up and 16 megabits down with my new business class service, but I am starting to think there may be some serious caveats hidden in this promise.

Where can you find the fastest Internet Speeds ?


The fastest Internet Speeds on earth can be found on any police detective related shows, CSI, etc.  Pick a modern TV show, or movie for that matter, with a technology scene, and you’ll find that the investigators can log into the Internet from any place on earth, and the connection is perfect. They can bring up images and data files instantly, while on the move, in a coffee shop, in a  hotel, it does not matter.  They can be in some remote village in India or back at the office, super perfectly fast connection every time.  Even the bad guys have unlimited bandwidth from anywhere in the world on these shows.

So if you ever need fast Internet, find a friend who works in government or law enforcement, and ask for shared access.

On the other hand,  I just spent a weekend in a small hotel where nothing worked, their wireless was worthless – pings went unanswered for 30 seconds at a time, and my backup Verizon 4g was also sporadic in and out. So I just gave up and read a magazine. When this happens, I wish I could just go to the Verizon Back Haul at their tower and plug a NetEqualizer in, this would immediately stop their data crush.

End of thought of day

NetEqualizer News: October 2014


October 2014

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss more details of our upcoming Cloud Reporting offering, highlight two ways to learn more about the NetEqualizer, and preview our new NetEqualizer 8.1 Product Demo Guide. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

October in Colorado has been mild to date. This year, I received an early “Halloween treat” – my garden pumpkin plants are still producing baby pumpkins! Normally by this time everything has been killed off by frost – but not this year.art_canoe_picture

We have a Halloween treat for you as well this month. Due to popular demand and very positive feedback, we are continuing to offer our “Tech Refresh” sessions. For those of you looking for a more extensive training, we are also offering On-Site One Day Training Sessions – see below for details on each of these offerings.

We love it when we hear back from you – so let us know what you think of the new RTR! Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

Here Comes The Cloud!

Have you had a chance to play with our Release 8.1 reporting features yet? There are some nice traffic graphs and other tools to help you find out what has been happening on your network. If you have not already upgraded to 8.1, contact our Support Team at support@apconnections.net to get current today!

tbyip

We are now planning for our 8.2 Release. As always, if you have RTR feedback or other feature requests for 8.2, please email your thoughts to sales@apconnections.net.

Our 8.2 development focus will be centered on long-term data resolution. Data resolution, or the granularity for which you can drill down on historical data in reporting, is based on three factors:

1. Sample rate
2. Length of time you store data
3. Amount of storage available

As you can imagine, the three factors above are interrelated. In order to increase our storage out to a year or more, there are two options. One would be to install larger disk drives on systems. The second option would be to take advantage of the cloud, where storage is essentially infinite and access to the data is fast.

We are choosing the latter option, for the same reasons the rest of the world is moving away from local data storage. We are planning on having NetEqualizer Cloud Reporting (NCR) ready to go by the summer of 2015, with beta trials this spring.

It will be easy to set up with a few clicks, and will be a cost-effective option for keeping NetEqualizer data long-term. Please note that you must be on Release 8.1+ to take advantage of our NetEqualizer Cloud Reporting (NCR).

If you have questions on the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


NetEqualizer 8.1 Product Demo GuideScreenshot at Oct 19 16-57-23

Our Product Demonstration Guide has been updated to highlight the new reporting capabilities available in 8.1.

Click here to get the updated guide, which you can use to review key features and functions of the NetEqualizer.

The Product Demo Guide is a great self-guided introduction to the NetEqualizer. If you have new staff members that could benefit from a quick tutorial, I highly recommend giving them this updated guide!

The Product Demo Guide is also available as part of our Online Demo Site. Register here to go to the NetEqualizer demonstration site and use the updated guide for a self-guided tour.


Schedule a Tech Refresh Call

We mentioned this offer in last month’s newsletter as well, but due to popular demand, we are highlighting this again for those of you who missed it last month!

We want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your NetEqualizer, as we are sure you do too! For customers that have been using the NetEqualizer awhile, sometimes with staffing changes over the years, and our new software releases, your collective NetEqualizer know-how diminishes. We would like to help you quickly get up-to-speed on all the features & functions of the NetEqualizer that are new to you, or you might have forgotten.

For customers current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), we would be happy to schedule up to a 1 hour NetEqualizer “Tech Refresh” call with you and your team. We will set up a webex session to screen-share with you, and walk through the NetEqualizer technology.

Call or email us to schedule your Tech Refresh today:

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


Want More? On-Site Technical Training

While a Tech Refresh call is a great way to get current on all things NetEqualizer, some of you have expressed an interest in even more!

So, we are now offering a limited number of On-Site One Day Technical Training Sessions in the U.S. and Canada, subject to availability.

Our one day training is great if you would like an engineer to train your team at your location, working directly on your NetEqualizer(s). We can highlight key configuration options, assess your set-up, and help you to review your environment in detail.

Pricing is $3500 USD for one day, plus travel expenses.

Call or email to check availability for On-Site Technical Training today:

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


Best Of The Blog

QoS Over The Internet – Five Must-Know Facts

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Twelve years ago we crossed a chasm with our NetEqualizer technology. We found a new and completely novel way to provide QoS without controlling both ends of the connection. In other words we are still the only solution that I know of that can sit in your enterprise and ensure that an incoming VoIP call over your public facing Internet connection does not get drowned out from an incoming download.

There is no doubt that we do it well because every month I talk to a customer that thanks us for helping solve this problem. If you do get into a water cooler discussion with other IT people on this subject, please send them this link from a blog post where I explain this technology and how it is different, you will be doing them a favor.

Photo Of The Month
IMG_0598
Great Horned Owl
The great horned owl is one of the most beautiful birds in the Americas. This particular owl spends his time in Lafayette, CO in a staff member’s backyard. Due to its natural-colored plumage, it can successfully adapt to most environments.

Notes from a cyber criminal


After a couple of recent high profile data thefts,   I put the question to myself,  how does a cyber thief convert a large amount of credit cards into a financial windfall?

I did some research, and then momentarily put on the shoes of a cyber thief, here are my notes and thoughts:

I am the greatest hacker in the world and I just got a-hold of twenty million  Home Depot debit cards and account numbers. What is my next move. Well I guess I could just start shopping at Home Depot every day and maxing out all my stolen account cards with a bunch of Lawn Mowers , Garden Hoses, and other items. How many times could I do this before I got caught ?  Probably not that many, I am sure the buying patterns would be flagged even before the consumer realized their card was stolen , especially if I was nowhere near the home area code of my victim(s).  And then I’d have to fence all those items to turn it into cash. But let’s assume I acted quickly and went on a home depot shopping spree with my twenty million cards.  Since I am a big time crook I am looking for a haul I can retire on, and so I’d want to buy and fence at least a few hundred thousand dollars worth of stuff out the gate. Now that is going to be quite a few craig(s) list advertisements, and one logistical nightmare to move those goods, and also I am leaving a trail back to me because at some point I have to exchange the goods with the buyer and they are going to want to pay by check . Let me re-think this…

Okay so I am getting smarter, forget the conventional method , what if I find some Russian portal where I can just sell the Home Depot cards and have the funds paid in Bitcoin to some third-party account that is untraceable.  How many people actually have Bitcoin accounts, and how many are interested in buying stolen credit cards on the black market, and then how to insure that the numbers have not been deactivated ? Suppose I sell to some Mafia type and the cards are not valid anymore ? Will they track me down and kill me ? Forget the Bitcoin,  I’ll have to use Paypal , again leaving a trail of some kind.  So now how do I market my credit card fencing site, I have 20 million cards to move and no customers.  A television advertisement , an underworld blog post ?  I need customers to buy these cards and I need them fast , once I start selling them Home Depot will only take a few days to shut down their cards . Maybe I can just have an agent hawk them in Thailand for $3 each , that way I stay anonymous, yeh that’s what I’ll do whew , I’ll be happy if I can net a few thousand dollars.

Conclusion: Although the theft of a data makes a great headline and is certainly not to be taken lightly , the ability for the crook(s) to convert bounty into a financial windfall, although possible is most likely a far more difficult task than the data theft . Stealing the data is one thing, but profiting from it on anything but the smallest scale is very difficult if not impossible.

The real problem for the hacked commercial institution is not the covering the loss of revenue from the theft, but the loss of company value from loss of public trust which can mount into the billions.

Although my main business is Bandwidth Control I do spend a good deal of thought cycles on Security as on occasion the two go hand in hand. For example some of the utilities we use on our NetEqualizer are used to thwart DOS attacks.  We also have our NetGladiator product which is simply the best and smartest tool out there for preventing an attack through your Website.

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